Susan M. Schwartz 260x300

Susan M. Schwartz, PhD, RN

  • Assistant Professor
Media Expertise:
  • Nursing

Affiliated Programs


  • Ph.D., Anthropology (2002)
    Harvard University (MA)
  • MA, Anthropology (1995)
    Harvard University (MA)
  • MSN, Public Health Nursing and Nursing Education
    West Chester University (PA)
  • BSN, Nursing
    Johns Hopkins University (MD)
  • BA, Anthropology
    University at Albany (NY)

About Me

Nursing is my second career. I began working in higher education as an anthropologist specializing in the indigenous cultures of Latin America, joining the faculty of Fordham University. While shaping my understanding of diverse peoples and cultures, anthropology also opened my eyes to deep global inequities and the magnitude of human suffering. As an anthropologist I witnessed abject poverty among families living in landfills in Cuba, civil war violence in Guatemala, and the staggering destitution of Honduran street children. I realized that my background in anthropology alone could not address such deeply rooted inequities; but as a nurse, I would have the knowledge and clinical skills of a profession committed to improving the health of people and communities. I enrolled in the accelerated BSN program at Johns Hopkins with the ambition of becoming a global health nurse.

For me, the transition was natural and synergistic: nursing and anthropology share theoretical perspectives, a holistic view, and a concern for the human condition. As a nurse scholar, I bring an anthropological perspective to my research and emphasize diversity and cross-cultural competence in my teaching and service.  Prior to coming to Widener, I was on the faculty at Immaculata University and Rutgers-Camden, where I developed and led several experiential global immersion programs, bringing nursing students to care for indigenous Maya, remote communities in the Amazon, and residents of favelas in Brazil. In recognition of my work bridging anthropology and nursing, I was unanimously elected President of CONAA (Council on Nursing and Anthropology) in 2019 and continue to serve in that capacity.

As a Nurse Educator, I specialize in population health, and enjoy working with students in the community setting. 

Research Interests

My scholarship focuses on transcultural nursing and cultural competence, with the objective of contributing to the development of theoretically based transcultural nursing research, the advancement of transcultural nursing practice and the education of culturally competent healthcare professionals.  Transcultural nursing is the means of describing, understanding, and explaining health beliefs and practices across cultures; it is compassionate and situated within a framework of social justice.  

As a Public Health and Transcultural Nurse, I work to reduce health inequities by studying the health beliefs and practices of vulnerable populations. I aim to use my research to advance our understanding of the determinants of health, with the goal of developing specialized, culturally appropriate interventions that address health inequities amongst the most vulnerable, and to educate health care professionals on providing holistic, culturally competent care.

My current research is focused on understanding the determinants of human trafficking to contribute to the science of this critical, but neglected, area of nursing research. 


  • Schwartz, S. M. (in press). A Cauldron of Tears: Cultural factors and vulnerability in human trafficking In M. De Chesnay & D. Sabella (Eds.), Human Trafficking: A Global Emergency Perspectives in Nursing, Criminal Justice, and the Social Sciences. Springer Nature.
  • Norris, S. (2022). The Pandemic Pivot: Lessons Learned from Turning on a Dime. CONAA Council on Nursing & Anthropology Abstracts, 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, Salt Lake City, Utah. Global Qualitative Nursing Research:9. 
  • Norris, S. & Lorup, C. (2020) Immersive Global Service Learning and the Development of Cultural Competence: Student Perceptions of a Transformative Process. CONAA Council on Nursing & Anthropology Abstracts, 80th Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, Albuquerque, NM. Global Qualitative Nursing Research: 7.
  • Norris, S. (2019). Changing (Dis)Course: Using the Intersection of Perspectives and Practice to Understand the Health Needs of an Urban Community. CONAA Council on Nursing & Anthropology Abstracts. 80th Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, Portland, OR. Global Qualitative Nursing Research 6.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

  • Council on Nursing and Anthropology (CONAA)
  • Transcultural Nursing Society
  • Society for Applied Anthropology


  • Outstanding Nurse Educator Award, Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden, Rutgers
  • Nurse Leader, Sigma Theta Tau
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, Harvard University
  • Civic Engagement Faculty Fellow, Rutgers University